Posted May 15, 2016 12:54 am by Comments

By James Rummel

surgeon generals warning on a pack of cigarettes

Make something more expensive, and people buy less.

Seems pretty clear, right? I mean, really FREAKIN’ obvious!

I remember the anti-smoking campaigns in the US back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Television commercials for cigarettes were banned, movies started to shun scenes showing tobacco use, public service announcements detailing the health risks of smoking flooded the airwaves, and each container of tobacco had to carry a warning.

Nothing seemed to have much impact, since the percentage of the population that smoked barely changed after each new ad campaign rollout. It was as if nicotine was addictive or something!

The effect of the propaganda blitz had almost no discernible effect, but the numbers of smokers kept falling. What was the cause?

Mainly it was the unintended consequences of heavy taxes. (Last link leads to a PDF file.) The anti-smoking campaigns might not have convinced people to stop buying cigarettes, but it did change public attitudes towards tobacco. If tobacco companies were villains, and smoking products weren’t considered cool anymore, then politicians were free to levy ever more taxes on them. This drove up the price, which kept many people from starting to smoke in …Read the Rest

Source:: Hell In a Handbasket

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